Sleep Education

American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

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Narcolepsy - Treatment

There is no cure for narcolepsy, but the sleep disorder is manageable through medication and lifestyle changes. It may take some time for the board certified sleep physician to find the right treatment plan for you.

This may include:


The sleep medicine physician is likely to prescribe you a stimulant to help you stay awake during the day. Many physicians choose to prescribe modafinil (Provigil) first for narcolepsy because it is less addictive and has fewer side effects compared to other stimulants. Other medications prescribed for narcolepsy include methylphenidate (Ritalin) or amphetamines.

SSRIs or antidepressants

These medications are often prescribed to treat cataplexy, as well as other narcolepsy symptoms including hallucinations and sleep paralysis. The effects vary depending on the medication your doctor recommends. In severe cases of cataplexy, your doctor may prescribe sodium oxybate.  

Lifestyle adjustments

Your physician may also recommend lifestyle changes that can help you manage the symptoms of narcolepsy. You will need to keep a consistent sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day, including weekends. If possible, schedule short 20-minute naps throughout the day. To increase your energy through the day, try to get regular exercise and avoid use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs.

If you think you may have narcolepsy, talk to a board certified sleep medicine physician. Find one at an AASM-Accredited sleep center near you.
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